We’d been anticipating The Weeknd's arrival in Italy for 268 days, and finally, the moment arrived. Originally scheduled for the 31st of October 2022 at Mediolanum Forum in Milan, his debut was rescheduled and relocated from arenas to stadiums, in response to both overwhelming demand and the challenges posed by the pandemic. The "After Hours Til Dawn Global Stadium Tour" graced Milan for two dates, on July 26th and 27th, at the Ippodromo Snai La Maura, drawing a total of 160,000 people for a spectacular show. To put it in perspective, The Weeknd's solo performance in Milan even surpassed the attendance figures of the entire three-day Coachella music festival!
The stage for this long-awaited tour resembles a futuristic, ferrous city, adorned with an immense cyborg woman statue designed by the Japanese illustrator Hajime Sorayama. Adding to the surreal ambiance, a suspended Moon hangs in mid-air, setting the scene for an extraordinary experience. The evening kicked off with the electrifying performances of Mike Dean and Kaytranada, setting the perfect tone and energy for the incredible night ahead.
The show starts at 9 pm, with the amazing “Dawn FM” intro with 24 vestals, dressed in white, with their bodies and faces covered. Then Abel comes out, and the Ippodromo explodes. He is dressed in white and wearing a mask as he starts with “Take My Breath”, unleashing the joy of the audience.
A massive show with a lineup of 35 songs played, and so many hits that it’s impossible to have a break in between, such as “Die For You”, “Save Your Tears”, “Call Out My Name” and “Blinding Lights”. Each song was sung with hands in the sky, while the bracelets given at the entrance create an amazing game of lights. The Weeknd mesmerized the audience with a meticulously chosen collection of classics from “Kiss Land”, “Trilogy”, “Starboy”,"Tears In The Rain", “House Of Balloons” and “Party Monster”, creating a captivating journey of emotions.
The most exhilarating moment of the evening came during Abel's rendition of "After Hours." His high notes seemed to pierce the sky as 80,000 voices joined in. The whole arena sang the final notes of this magnificent and heartrending song, delving into the poignant tale of a failed romantic relationship. During a brief intermission, The Weeknd took a moment to address the crowd, making a heartfelt promise to return to Italy every year (a pledge that thrilled the audience).
The show continued with "Creepin” (in collaboration with Metro Boomin), and “Popular" (from the TV Series “The Idol”) before culminating in a grand finale with "Moth to a Flame”, a remarkable collaboration with Swedish House Mafia from 2022.
Undoubtedly, The Weeknd stands as one of the most influential pop stars of our era. Each of his performances confirms and strengthens his dominant position in the music industry. He has earned the title of a genuine Pop Idol, captivating audiences with his unique style, powerful vocals, and magnetic stage presence. He continues to push boundaries and set new standards for pop performances, making him an enduring icon in the hearts of fans worldwide.